TV Breaks Right After The Warranty Expired? Call Your Credit Card Company

Reader Brendan’s TV decided to die right after the manufacturer’s warranty expired. He tried asking Polaroid to extend the warranty. (They wouldn’t.) He tried getting the TV repaired. (Too expensive.) Not knowing what else to do, he sent us a 1,000-ish-word-long complaint detailing the frustrations one could expect when dealing with Polaroid. (It was very well written.)

We replied:

Brendan,
Did you purchase the TV with a credit card? If so, you should check to see if your card has extended warranty protection.

Brendan replied:

Holy Crap, thank you! I called my credit card company (Master Card). After a little phone run around I was told they automatically double any manufacturer warranty. I answered a few questions and i’m covered! I’m sure the paperwork is going to be a bit of a pain, but woohoo!

Thank you Consumerist, you guys rock.
-Brendan

Technically, it’s extended warranty protection that rocks, but hey—we’ll take it.

(Photo:mod*betty)

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Comments

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  1. TechnoDestructo says:

    1. We’re talking about Polaroid…the company that came closest to oblivion before getting with the digital program. Recalcitrance is not surprising.

    2. Warranties are set a particularly length for a reason.

  2. Always a good reminder!

  3. mantari says:

    Pro tip: Polaroid lends their names to all sorts of other companies. They don’t seem to actually make squat when it comes to consumer electronics.

    So, yes, they whore their name out for cash. Probably a good brand to avoid, because it is nearly meaningless.

  4. NoThru22 says:

    Stop buying junk TVs!

  5. chiieddy says:

    Why would you buy a TV from Polaroid? I wouldn’t even buy a camera from them!

  6. KingPsyz says:

    Pretty much, but my mother in law bought us a Poloroid LCD TV that was supposed to be 720P max, but when I have the PS3 hooked up with HDMI it shows it as a 1080P signal!

    So I’ll take what I can get with my $600 HDTV til I’m debt free(babies be expensive) and can splurge on a nicer real 1080P set.

  7. Scuba Steve says:

    That reminds me:

    1. I need to get a credit card.
    2. I need to up the limit to 1500 dollars.
    3. I need to buy a TV.

    Then I’m set.

  8. BrianH says:

    I wouldn’t expect anything less from a Polaroid TV.

  9. nweaver says:

    Likewise, if you are a member, buy your HDTV from Costco:

    extend the warantee to 2 years.

    Additional tech support

    60 day return policy (I think, might be 30 days).

  10. stenk says:

    Wow Polaroid make TVs?

  11. cccdude says:

    Wow..wish I could afford babies and a PS3.

  12. SOhp101 says:

    Many credit cards have a automatic warranty extension for up to one year if the entire purchase was made on the card.

    @nweaver: The return policy for electronics is 90 days.

  13. StevieD says:

    Polaroid makes TVs?

  14. Zimorodok says:

    Polaroid TVs are annoying. They wouldn’t be so bad if you didn’t have to print out every frame on a 42″ card and shake it for a whole minute for the image to appear. Those cards are huge, and my arms are tired.

    *Ducks*

  15. chiieddy says:

    @zimorodok: Don’t you know, it’s a common fallacy, you can actually damage the picture by shaking the card! :)

  16. LeJerk says:

    Would this protection work with a Visa branded “check” card from a bank? Would you talk to the bank or Visa?

  17. stopNgoBeau says:

    @kingpsyz: The signal might be at 1080, but your 720 TV can only display at 720. My TV does the same thing. Reads all signals up to 1080, but then “downgrades” them to 720 for the TV to display. Still looks kick ass, and I’m happy with it.

  18. croeso says:

    My 96 year old mother needed a new TV, and the neighbor in her retirement condo in Florida took her to Circuit City. They were promptly loaded into a Polaroid TV by the salesman, and right after the warranty was out this looser set died. Circuit City almost took glee in telling me too bad, so sad when I tried to take it back during a visit from California. I dropped it (literally) on the floor in the TV department right by the display of Polaroid televisions creating a minor commotion. A clerk appeared out of nowhere and asked in a huff what I thought I was doing. I told him I was returning a piece of shit. I was threatened not to ever come back and I told them something to the effect that they had my permission to shoot me if I ever even thought of coming back. I went almost directly across the street and bought my mom a Sanyo TV from Sears. A year later it’s still working great, and while I’ve bought a new laptop, LCD monitor for my desktop and assorted other smaller electronics, I never once thought of going to Circuit City for them. As far as I’m concerned, their selling those lousy Polaroid televisions and not backing them up lost them my business forever.

  19. KingPsyz says:

    @cccdude:

    Jobs are pretty rad

  20. KingPsyz says:

    @stopNgoBeau:
    that’s what I thought at first, but when you change the channel on these poloroid sets it displays the resolution under the channel.

    when I turn on the PS3 on the HDMI channel it starts at 1080p, some games come in at 720p instead, so it fluctuates.

    still, and interesting glitch. makes you wonder if any HDTV could do 1080p but they throtle it back in less expensive models?

  21. ShadowFalls says:

    @mantari:

    Yup, PNY would be one of those. they sell memory cards that are Polaroid by PNY :P They are no different than regular PNY SD memory cards…

    @LeJerk:

    Check the information on your bank’s website. These tend to be features either offered by a bank or ones like Mastercard or Visa. American Express is known to give less hassle when it comes to these kind of things. You should contact your bank at the bare minimum if not sure, hopefully they can point you in ther right direction.

  22. banmojo says:

    Thanks Consumerist, for helping this fellow Con out of a leaky warranty. You guys ROCK!!

  23. KIRZEN2007 says:

    Its actually -very- easy to enact the extended warranty provisions of your credit card, you simply have to have a copy of the warranty card that came with the set (so that your credit card company knows how long the original warranty was, so that they can tell how long the original warranty was supposed to be for.

    As a side note, -always- get an extended warranty when you’re buying a plasma or an LCD set, warranties are very ‘cut and dried’, it has nothing to do with a ‘leaky warranty’ or a ‘bad product’, its a simple matter that the technology is very much like a computer, if you have a computer with a one year warranty, and 15 months in the power supply spikes, killing the motherboard and the video card, you could be paying 80% of the unit’s worth to get it repaired…

    People need to understand that new televisions are basically computers, they have all the same internal parts, just in a very different configuration. The lifecycle of most high end TVs is between 3 and 10 years (that’s the -lifecycle-, don’t expect to get more than 10, and don’t be surprised if you don’t get more than three, 15 months is painful, but its also very possible.)

  24. Anonymous says:

    I had a similar situation with a PhilipsMagnavox TV about nine years ago. The TV, which had a 90 day warranty, died in a huff of smoke 92 days after I bought it. After several calls and a steadily escalating aggravation level they agreed to extend the warranty and fix it. According to the shop, the problem with my set was common in that model and they had several others in there waiting for the same part. Six weeks and a million games of StarCraft later, my set was fixed and still works great today.

    My point is that sometimes persistence, and a bit of customer service roulette, can pay off.

  25. GearheadGeek says:

    @kingpsyz: No. Just no. Sheesh. The LCD or plasma display panel has a fixed, PHYSICAL resolution. There are a certain number of rows of pixels. The most common count currently is either 720 or 768, but since TV signals may be 1080i (there are no over-the-air 1080p sources yet) the 720-line sets have to be able to accept and downconvert a 1080-line signal, as well as upconvert the crappy hopefully-480-line standard-def signal.

    1080-line panels are still much more expensive than 720- or 768-line panels. No manufacturer is going to throw in the 1080-line panel and call it a 720p set just to give you a discount.

  26. GearheadGeek says:

    @nweaver: And if you buy the HDTV from Costco and pay with your Amex, I think you get yet another year added on. I don’t believe the Amex year overlaps the Costco extra years.

  27. cloudedice says:

    @GearheadGeek: Usually the additional year is specified to begin after any manufacturer/store warranties expire.

  28. FLConsumer says:

    No Costco stores in this area, so scratch that idea. Can’t see paying $120+/year for the “privilege” of having a credit card from Amex otherwise.

  29. doctor_cos wants you to remain calm says:

    There are other cards besides Amex which will extend the warranty. I believe there is a Discover card which does.

    Really though, I’ve had salespeople try to talk me into all kinds of crap when I’m out browsing for a television. I was not even aware someone had bought the old Sansui name until I visited a local chain to look at Mitsubishi TVs (they ‘don’t carry those’ anymore).
    Sears did seem to have a little more knowledgeable sales staff than CC, but that’s to be expected.

  30. Electroqueen says:

    When Odd Job was still open in Rockefeller Center, I used to buy tons of Polaroid batteries. 4 for $1! And they worked pretty well on my electronics.
    A shame that Polaroid was slow on Digital Cameras… They would have made a killing if they owned the patent.

  31. zibby says:

    Well, I was going to be all, “WTF, Polaroid TV?” but I can see that’s been done.

  32. GearheadGeek says:

    @FLConsumer: If an Amex credit card costs you $120 a year you’re talking to the wrong person. I don’t know of any of the CREDIT cards from Amex that aren’t free… I don’t know what their charge cards costs these days, but last I heard the Green card was about $50/year. The only reason I used Amex in my Costco example is that’s the only card they take in-store, Amex (or debit cards.) Online, though, they take the full range.

  33. Hanke says:

    @FLConsumer: My AMEX Gold and AMEX Blue cards have no annual fees; the gold only because I charge over a certain amount each year. My issue with them is they keep trying to push me to their platinum card, at $450 annual fee.

  34. TheSeeker says:

    I have a Polaroid TV and it works fine and for the price compared to the other brands, it was a real bargain.

    And about extended warranties for electronics, consumer advocate Clark Howard http://www.clarkhoward.com says to never ever buy one…they are a rip off.

  35. Anonymous says:

    @GearheadGeek: AmEx cards can be had for free in some cases. I got mine through Fidelity and they pay the $75 annual fee. I get all the services and protections of a regular card holder and the card is tied to my brokerage account as a direct debit. The only thing I pay for is the rewards program ($40) which is more versatile than airline miles.

  36. Ben Clayton says:

    Did he try shaking and blowing on it?

  37. 1964F100 says:

    @StevieD: IIRC, Polaroid has devolved into a licensed brand name. Some other company manufactures and markets the set.

    It’s sort of like Bell & Howell. Nowadays you can buy B&H-branded digital cameras, desk lamps, and shavers, all branded under license by whatever remains of B&H. Anyone who was high school A-V geek in the 1970s and earlier probably remembers B&H as a well-known maker of 16mm movie projectors. How the mighty have fallen…

  38. Buran says:

    @TechnoDestructo: Yep. I’m sure they knew exactly when the MTBF was for the most critical components and made sure the warranty wouldn’t cover most failures.

  39. bombledmonk says:

    I had my camera fail on me last year at about 1 year 8 months. I specifically bought it on a Mastercard for the extended warranty. Calling in trying and trying to get someone who didn’t want to give me the runaround was one of the biggest pains. Nobody wanted to acknowledge that this service even existed and each CSR gave me a different number to try because they “didn’t think they offered that service”.

    Once I finally got through and got a support ticket started they asked me to get my camera checked at an authorized repair facility to confirm that it is broken and have them write a verification letter. Well since there is no such thing as an authorized repair facility except for Canon’s own place in Illinois I was supposed to send in my camera at my cost, get a letter from them (which the Canon rep said they didn’t do that) and send back my camera broken while Mastercard reviewed my situation. I finally got them to agree to having a somewhat local camera shop (ha! only 90 miles away)look at it and write a letter and sent in all the in paperwork. And on top of that mastercard wouldn’t cover the $8 canon charged to ship the camera back to me…

    Moral of the story, it’s a pain in the ass to use the extended warranty. Worth it in the end, but a complete pain in the ass.

  40. MyPetFly says:

    I had my Polaroids removed by a proctologist.

  41. theblackdog says:

    What happens if the product was a gift, especially if it was the gift of a now ex?